Collaboration For Large-Scale Green Hydrogen Production

The large process automation suppliers are racing for leadership in green hydrogen production. You could search hydrogen on the blog to see the latest news. This one updates a new initiative by ABB Ventures.

  • ABB and Hydrogen Optimized announced a collaboration that positions companies for global leadership in large-scale green hydrogen production systems.
  • Combined technological offerings will include Hydrogen Optimized’s RuggedCell high-power water electrolyzers and ABB’s high-power rectifiers.
  • The two companies consolidated their alliance with a new commercial agreement signed at a hydrogen trade show in Stephenville, Newfoundland, attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
  • This includes an investment by ABB into Key DH Technologies Inc. (KEY), the parent company of HOI
  • Global electrolyzer capacity will reach an estimated 3,100 gigawatts by 2050, according to a June 2022 report published by DNV. The group forecasts that electricity-based green hydrogen will be the dominant form of hydrogen production by the middle of this century, accounting for 72 percent of output.

ThinkIQ and CESMII Partner

How much impact do US National Institutes of technology and manufacturing have on the real world of manufacturing? I’ve dealt with several over the past 20 years. They do a lot of work. Sometimes I’m not so sure of the impact. 

On the other hand, I’ve followed the work of various Smart Manufacturing leaders for maybe 15 years. Their work has evolved into CESMII. John Dyck and his team have busily assembled ideas and technology. This announcement with ThinkIQ is interesting. I’ve interviewed those executives several times (here and here and here for example). The unique value proposition is that the product traces materials across operations, not manual operations. Interesting take. Here is the announcement of the partnership.

ThinkIQ announced August 23, 2022 that the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII), the United States’ national institute on Smart Manufacturing, will now be licensing its technology to power CESMII’s Smart Manufacturing Innovation Platform (SMIP). With ThinkIQ as the foundation of the CESMII SMIP, ThinkIQ customers will be able to continually benefit from smart manufacturing applications developed and integrated with the SMIP and CESMII’s further development and expansion of Smart Manufacturing Profiles. This will enable a simpler, lower cost and more effective implementation of smart manufacturing solutions to solve manufacturing problems as offered in CESMII’s Smart Manufacturing Marketplace. This open platform enables a new generation of problem solvers – app developers, data scientists and empowered operators – to create and explore new ways to understanding manufacturing problems

ThinkIQ’s SaaS Manufacturing cloud-based platform simplifies the creation of web-based applications and leverages the strengths of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Data Science, Semantic Modeling and Machine Learning. The platform collects data across the operation (existing and IIoT sensors) to provide actionable real time insights (e.g., identify correlations and root causes, traceability and yield issues, etc.). ThinkIQ’s recently enhanced Vision platform provides visibility on the shop floor, eliminating blind spots and increasing productivity and worker safety. This creates a new level of capability beyond what independent disconnected operating environments can provide today, helping companies to manage their manufacturing operations and supply chains even more effectively during economic disruptions and labor shortages.

Rust Foundation Establishes Security Team

Do you program in Rust? Me neither. I had barely heard of it. I received this news. Valuable if you use Rust. Interesting for any other language to think about security within a language.

The Rust Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and sustaining the Rust programming language, announced Sept. 13, 2022 it is establishing a dedicated security team. The team is being underwritten with generous support from the OpenSSF’s Alpha-Omega Initiative, which partners with open source software projects and maintainers to improve the global software supply chain security, and Rust Foundation’s newest Platinum member JFrog. 

These investments from Alpha-Omega and JFrog include dedicated staff resources that will enable the Rust Foundation to create and implement security best practices. The first initiative for the new Security Team will be to undertake a security audit and threat modeling exercises to identify how security can be economically maintained going forward. The team will also help advocate for security practices across the Rust landscape, including Cargo and Crates.io, and will be a resource for the maintainer community.

JFrog just last week announced it is joining the Rust Foundation at the Platinum level. As part of the company’s investment in the Rust Foundation and ecosystem, JFrog has committed members of its Security Research team to work on the Rust Foundation Security Team. JFrog joins AWS, Google, Huawei, Meta, Microsoft, and Mozilla at the Platinum level. 

Schneider Electric To Complete Acquisition of AVEVA

Financial investors today value software companies more than hardware companies. Notice how long-time industrial companies such as Emerson and Rockwell Automation and Siemens and ABB tout themselves as software companies.

Schneider Electric picked up a substantial software portfolio with its Invensys acquisition several years ago. It used those assets to invest in engineering software company AVEVA gaining more than a 50% ownership position. Later, AVEVA picked up OSIsoft.

One of the values of attending conferences includes lunch and break ad hoc conversations. I was chatting with ARC  vice president Craig Resnick at the Ignition Community Conference last week. He explained the news that Schneider Electric is completing acquisition of AVEVA.

He told me Schneider Electric intends to, among other matters:

  • accelerate the transition to a subscription and cloud-based industrial SaaS model at AVEVA, allowing AVEVA to fully focus on the business model transition, on its customers and its technology;
  • maintain AVEVA’s software as fully agnostic and to preserve its business autonomy;
  • maintain AVEVA’s existing corporate headquarters in Cambridge, UK;
  • maintain and develop AVEVA’s R&D presence in the UK and accelerate investments in R&D; and
  • support AVEVA’s existing plans to enhance its operations in Cambridge, UK and also remains committed both to offering apprenticeships and maintaining active research links with universities in the UK, including Cambridge.

Further reading from Yahoo! News and Bloomberg:

Schneider Electric SE agreed to buy out minority shareholders in Aveva Group Plc in a deal that values the UK industrial software company at £9.5 billion ($10.8 billion), the latest foreign takeover of British tech company.

Schneider will pay £31 per share, the company said in a statement on Wednesday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. Under the terms of the deal, the company, which already owns 59.14% of Cambridge, England-based Aveva, will pay about £3.87 billion for the remaining equity.

IoT Vulnerability Disclosures Grew 57 percent from 2H 2021 to 1H 2022

Security, risk, and vulnerability to digital hacks consume half of my bandwidth—or so it feels. Part of the security trends includes each supplier performing research and writing reports. Here is a report from Claroty’s Team82 revealing a rise in IoT vulnerabilities, vendor self-disclosures, and fully or partially remediated firmware vulnerabilities 

Vulnerability disclosures impacting IoT devices increased by 57% in the first half (1H) of 2022 compared to the previous six months, according to new research released in August by Claroty, the cyber-physical systems protection company. The State of XIoT Security Report: 1H 2022 also found that over the same time period, vendor self-disclosures increased by 69%, becoming more prolific reporters than independent research outfits for the first time, and fully or partially remediated firmware vulnerabilities increased by 79%, a notable improvement given the relative challenges in patching firmware versus software vulnerabilities. 

Compiled by Team82, the report is an examination and analysis of vulnerabilities impacting the Extended Internet of Things (XIoT), a vast network of cyber-physical systems including operational technology and industrial control systems (OT/ICS), Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), building management systems, and enterprise IoT. The data set comprises vulnerabilities discovered by Team82 and from trusted open sources including the National Vulnerability Database (NVD), the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), [email protected], MITRE, and industrial automation vendors Schneider Electric and Siemens.  

Key Findings 

IoT Devices: 15% of vulnerabilities were found in IoT devices, a significant increase from 9% in Team82’s last report covering the second half (2H) of 2021. Additionally, for the first time, the combination of IoT and IoMT vulnerabilities (18.2%) exceeded IT vulnerabilities (16.5%). This indicates enhanced understanding on the part of vendors and researchers to secure these connected devices as they can be a gateway to deeper network penetration.  

Vendor Self-Disclosures: For the first time, vendor self-disclosures (29%) have surpassed independent research outfits (19%) as the second most prolific vulnerability reporters, after third-party security companies (45%). The 214 published CVEs almost doubles the total in Team82’s 2H 2021 report of 127. This indicates that more OT, IoT, and IoMT vendors are establishing vulnerability disclosure programs and dedicating more resources to examining the security and safety of their products than ever before. 

Firmware: Published firmware vulnerabilities were nearly on par with software vulnerabilities (46% and 48% respectively), a huge jump from the 2H 2021 report when there was almost a 2:1 disparity between software (62%) and firmware (37%). The report also revealed a significant increase in fully or partially remediated firmware vulnerabilities (40% in 1H 2022, up from 21% in 2H 2021), which is notable given the relative challenges in patching firmware due to longer update cycles and infrequent maintenance windows. This indicates researchers’ growing interest in safeguarding devices at lower levels of the Purdue Model, which are more directly connected to the process itself and thus a more attractive target for attackers.  

Volume and Criticality: On average, XIoT vulnerabilities are being published and addressed at a rate of 125 per month, reaching a total of 747 in 1H 2022. The vast majority have CVSS scores of either critical (19%) or high severity (46%). 

Impacts: Nearly three-quarters (71%) have a high impact on system and device availability, the impact metric most applicable to XIoT devices. The leading potential impact is unauthorized remote code or command execution (prevalent in 54% of vulnerabilities), followed by denial-of-service conditions (crash, exit, or restart) at 43%. 

Mitigations: The top mitigation step is network segmentation (recommended in 45% of vulnerability disclosures), followed by secure remote access (38%) and ransomware, phishing, and spam protection (15%).  

The primary authors of this report are Bar Ofner, security researcher at Claroty, and Chen Fradkin, data scientist. Contributors include: Rotem Mesika, threat and risk group lead, Nadav Erez, director of innovation, Sharon Brizinov, director of research, and Amir Preminger, vice president of research. Special thanks to the entirety of Team82 for providing exceptional support to various aspects of this report and research efforts that fueled it. 

Gas Analysis Solutions Center to Help Plants Meet Sustainability Goals

As surely as security has been a significant 2022 trend, so also has sustainability. Since early June, I’ve been in several conversations regarding work technology firms are accomplishing in this arena. I’ve talked in the past about Emerson and hydrogen. This Emerson news concerns sensing technologies for emissions monitoring.

New Scotland-based center will develop and provide training for next-generation gas sensing technologies used for emissions monitoring, process control and safety.

For those interested in what we can do on a personal level about this important work, check out the work of hundreds of volunteers of The Carbon Almanac. 

Emerson announced August 29, 2022 the opening of a facility in Cumbernauld, Scotland, equipped with engineering, development and manufacturing resources for sensor, mechanical, electronics and software design for the company’s gas analysis portfolio. Spurred by demand to reduce the environmental impact of industrial process facilities, the new gas analysis solutions center will produce more than 10 different sensing technologies that can measure more than 60 different gas components, delivering on Emerson’s commitment to supporting customers’ decarbonization efforts.

As a global hub for the production and distribution of gas sensing technologies, the 62,000-square-foot facility will engineer and manufacture Emerson’s Rosemount continuous gas analyzers and gas chromatographs, which are used to improve emissions monitoring, plant safety, quality control and operational efficiency. These tools are critical to helping process plants meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations and ensuring process control in hydrogen, biofuel, food and beverage, pharmaceutical and aerosol manufacturing, as well as reducing waste and scrappage to foster sustainability.

The center includes a training space and offers training options for customers, including classroom, onsite and web-based courses, giving Emerson greater ability to demonstrate how the latest gas analysis technologies can help customers run their operations reliably, safely and efficiently. It is certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and complements Emerson’s global network of facilities certified by ISO standards for quality, occupational health and safety, and environmental management systems.

The facility is also equipped with a gas extraction system, an environmental chamber and an external gas storage to facilitate gas analyzer testing and application research and development. Combined with calibration capabilities, a dedicated area for performing factory acceptance testing, and a customer collaboration space, these capabilities will help assure product performance and integrity and streamline the customer experience.